Here's your daily roundup of all the latest local and national news. (Like our coverage? Please consider making a recurring contribution to the Mercury to keep it comin'!)
• Portland Commish Jo Ann Hardesty is strongly denying the story reported in an Oregonian article this morning that she was involved in a minor hit-and-run accident on Wednesday. She calls the allegation a "smear campaign" and very suspicious, since she says her car has been inoperable for nearly a year, AND (as our Alex Zielinski reports) the story was originally circulated by local Republicans whose disdain for Hardesty is very obvious. UPDATE: Unsurprisingly, Commissioner Hardesty has been cleared by the police who say she is NOT a suspect in the hit-and-run case.
I want to be very clear, there is an accusation circulating that threatens to damage my reputation as a City Council member and as the Transportation Commissioner. I take these allegations very seriously and am here to tell you they are false allegations. https://t.co/oIhLYRD0Jo
— Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty (@JoAnnPDX) March 4, 2021
• In a not unrelated story: Once again Portland Police have been cleared of any wrongdoing, this time for "unwittingly" helping arrest a man based on an extremely sketchy arrest warrant that was launched by a West Linn cop and his buddy who was seeking revenge. Nothing suspicious there! (Our Alex Zielinski explains it all for you.)
• OPB has a verrrry juicy story about Portland's Office of Community & Civic Life—a city bureau that wears a lot of hats, and is accused of promoting a "culture of fear" which includes allegations of "harassment by higher-ups, inexperienced managers, inappropriate hiring practices, and a culture of retaliation."
For years, rank-and-file staff has been sounding alarms about management at Portland's Civic Life bureau that they allege ranged from sloppy to abusive.
For years, staff say no one has listened.https://t.co/pKRZI2Enuh
— Rebecca Ellis (@Rjaellis) March 4, 2021
• While Multnomah County restaurants are being allowed to reopen their dining rooms to 50 percent capacity (as directed by the governor), many have no intention of doing so right now, due to safety issues, fear of being closed down again, and their outdoor dining programs which are only going to become more popular as the weather improves.
• "My hubby has been exchanging sexy texts with... (pauses for dramatic effect)... his first cousin! EWW! And what do I do??" The honorable Dan Savage issues a ruling in this week's SAVAGE LOVE!
IN NATIONAL NEWS:
• More positive COVID news: Just after taking office, President Busy Bee Biden set a goal for America to provide 1.5 million vaccinations per day. So you will be pleased to learn that, as of yesterday, the country has administered a whopping 2 million doses per day on average. (How many do you think it would be if Trump were still in charge? Just curious.)
The House passed a police reform bill named for George Floyd that would ban police use of chokeholds, eliminate qualified immunity for police officers, ban no-knock warrants and mandate data collection on police encounters. https://t.co/00mBv0322x
— NPR Politics (@nprpolitics) March 4, 2021
• Capitol Police want the National Guard to continue patrolling the Capitol for 60 more days after intelligence emerged that Trump's QAnon crackpots were planning on storming the building again. There was chatter about a possible attack today to celebrate Trump's return to power (a complicated, and wildly ignorant theory)—which of course didn't transpire, because he lost the fucking election, you idiots. (I'm talking to the QAnon idiots, not you.)
• Today the Senate voted 51-50 (with an assist by Kamala Harris) to begin debating Biden's big ole pandemic aid package, which they hope to push through the chamber by this weekend. Naturally, the GOP is banking on slowing down the process as much as possible. This afternoon, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) is actually forcing Senate clerks to do a full reading of legislation on the floor, which will take several hours and offer a slew of amendments to prolong discussion. Why? Well, because he is a corrupt butter-dick, of course.
• Oh, and speaking of corrupt Republicans, and just so you know, GOP state lawmakers across the country are seeking to pass legislation that would nullify any gun control laws that the Biden administration might even be considering. It's almost like it's some sort of planned nationwide effort by gun makers, the NRA, and Republicans, or something like that!
• At least 38 protesters were killed in Myanmar yesterday by government forces in the deadliest day since the military coup began one month ago. Protesters are demanding the release of government leaders who were overthrown and detained in the coup, as well as calling for the end of military rule. Witnesses say that security forces have opened fire on large crowds "with little warning."
• The third and latest attempt at launching and landing the SpaceX rocket was almost a success—because while the ship did successfully land, it then unsuccessfully blew up. But still! One step closer!
• Get ready to party HARD in the third installment of the Mercury Music Series, with a livestream concert from super fun Portland rapper/singer/producer FOUNTAINE, coming at ya on March 11! Snap up those tix, babies!
• Heads up, horn dogs! It's the last weekend for the HUMP! 2021 Film Festival, featuring an array of hot 'n' horny amateur dirty flicks submitted by hot people like YOU. Get your tickets pronto!
• And now... THE WEATHER REPORT: Cloudy with scattered showers tomorrow with a high around 49.
• And finally, I mean... she has a point. What if your skin IS made of balloons?